By Steve Bauer
GREENVILLE, S.C. — With an army of red-shirted employees greeting the 300 dealers who arrived at the Greenville Marriott, KYMCO USA marked a rare achievement in today’s powersports industry — its first-ever dealer meeting.
The meeting, held April 28-29 near the companies’ headquarters in Spartanburg, S.C., was highlighted by the unveiling of several new scooters and ATVs, along with the announcement of a new strategic accessories partnership with Kolpin Powersports and a low-payment financing plan through Sheffield Financial.
Eric Bondy, president and CEO of KYMCO USA, started off the meeting by saying, “For us, this is like having 300 of your closest friends come over for dinner. This is an exciting milestone for this company, and we’re glad everyone here could be a part of it.”
An announcement that drew a rousing applause from the audience was the partnership between KYMCO USA and Kolpin Powersports, which has agreed to supply accessories specifically for KYMCO ATVs and UTVs. Bondy even hinted that Kolpin could start accessorizing KYMCO’s scooters, as well.
“Their products are fabulous, and we’re going to do some things together in the near future in terms of branding, co-branding and advertising,” he said. “Kolpin has the technology and manufacturing ability to produce pretty much whatever they want accessories-wise, and I certainly can envision a scenario where they’d be supplying our dealers with scooter accessories.”
New financing opportunity
Bondy also announced a new dealer financing program through Sheffield Financial that will allow qualified customers to purchase a KYMCO vehicle for 1.5 percent financing through 48 months, with monthly payments as low at $35.
“This is a great example of one of our partners, Sheffield, creating a financing package that is nearly impossible to find anywhere else in the industry,” Bondy said. “With the economy down as it is, it’s financing packages like this one that will allow our dealers to show customers how affordable owning one of our vehicles really can be.”
KYMCO also discussed a partnership with Dealership University, which will allow dealers access to Dealership University’s Web site and training programs, where employees can be educated and tested on each individual KYMCO product, as well as attend sales training seminars and other events.
Dealers interviewed by Powersports Business were excited to see the progress KYMCO USA has achieved in the past eight years, with many partnering with the company from the start.
“I remember first being approached by KYMCO and how impressed I was with their product and dealer service, even then,” said Gary Peterson of A to Z Powersports of Carson, Nev. “In the years I’ve been with them, they’ve gone through some ups and downs but have never let me down when I needed manufacturer support or service. That’s one big reason why we’ve made it to this point today, their commitment to their product and dealers.”
Clay Marshall of Marshall Cycle in Louisville, says it was important for KYMCO to show its dealers that it’s serious about succeeding down the road, not just in the short term.
“With the products they came out with this year and the money they are going to be investing in marketing and R&D, it was great to see as one of their dealers,” he said. “They are really trying to separate themselves from other Chinese and Taiwanese OEMs, and I think they’ve more than succeeded.”
Copyright 2008 Powersports Business